Kolkata Knight Riders are back in the business as they defeated the mighty Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Wednesday.
Defending a par total of 168 and looking down and out at halfway stage of the game with Shane Watson (50) and Ambati Rayudu (30) taking the game away, KKR turned the tide in the closing stages after some disciplined death-over bowling in a 10-run win.
Andre Russell turned out to be the architect of the win with his tidy 2-over spell of 18 runs, along with a wicket, in the closing stages. He was aptly backed by Sunil Narine (26/1) as the spinner coughed up crucial three dot balls in the penultimate over to halt CSK at 157/5 at the end.
Chasing, Chennai Super Kings had to suffer early jolt when Shivam Mavi removed in-form Faf du Plessis cheaply in the fourth over with 34 runs on the board. Du Plessis paid the price for chasing an away moving delivery, which was edged to skipper Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps.
Being an experienced side, CSK were steered at a good pace from hereon by Shane Watson and no.3 Ambati Rayudu as they built an important 51-ball 69 stand. The duo ensured that KKR were not allowed to consolidate early as they played ground shots to perfection with seven boundaries and a six in the partnership.
The partnership ended at the beginning of the 13th over when Rayudu (30 off 27) shot Kamlesh Nagarkoti back of a short length delivery straight into the hands of Shubman Gill at long-on.
KKR made further amends in the next over when Sunil Narine caught Shane Watson lbw, but no before the burly Aussie batsman shot his 21st IPL 50 and took CSK past 100. This was soon backed up by two quick and big wickets of MS Dhoni and Sam Curran.
Andre Russell took over the proceedings from here as he didn’t allow Ravindra Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav to take CSK past the finishing lines.
In at No.5 skipper MS Dhoni (11 off 12) couldn’t play the finisher on the day as he was clean bowled by Varun Chakravarthy in the 17th over. This was followed by Andre Russell removing Curran (17 off 11) in the next, with CSK feeling the heat in the closing stages.
Earlier in the first innnigs, CSK put up a masterclass of death over bowling to bowl out KKR for 167 at the Sheikh Zayed stadium. KKR had crossed the 100-run mark in 12th over but managed to score just 34 runs and lost five wickets in the last four overs.
KKR’s decision to promote Rahul Tripathi to the top of the order bore fruit as the Maharashtra batsman smashed 81 runs off 51 balls. Sunil Narine came in at no.4 and scored a quickfire 17 off nine before being dismissed thanks to a blinder of a combined catch from Ravindra Jadeja and Faf du Plessis.
Narine looked to hit Karn Sharma between long-on and deep midwicket and Jadeja ran to his right before putting in a dive to seemingly complete the catch. However, he decided to relay the ball to du Plessis nearby when he figured that he may slide towards the boundary rope.
Tripathi fell at the end of the 17th over after which CSK dominated the proceedings.
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